variety

UnknownAnother good varied day today.
After starting the day with centring prayer I visited Trinity School to meet with Juliet, the chaplain at the school. Bishop Christopher suggested we met as I am working with the staff at our Blackheath site and looking at how we might inclusivly introduce Eucharist as part of our worship in school.

I spent a great couple of hours talking with Juliet, we shared lots of ideas and it was really quite refreshing to meet with another creative person who is attempting to try new things in different places. I learned a lot from my time with Juliet and loved some of the ideas she has for working in schools …. and I am going to shamelessly adopt them (with her full generous permission of course!) Sometimes just chatting helps …so thanks Juliet for your time.

Keeping with the chaplain being I then spoke at the Easter Service at our Peninsula site. I used the Easter Banner from Mission Magic:

and it seemed to go down well with the children … and adults. And the secret … well, bobs, I can’t tell you!

Following that the working day ended with Mindful(l) our meditations session …. always a great way to end a day! Why not sign up here for next weeks meditation session.

The day of a team vicar / school chaplain can be a varied one!

Dance Ecstatically!

dancers-graphicI have been enjoying being challenged (again) by the daily meditations of Richard Rohr this past week.

This last week Rohr has been writing about Trinity. I was particularly reminded by Richard of how history has often fed people the patriarchal / supreme monarch / critical spectator and disinterested image of God.

That’s not the image of God I hold. It’s not the character of the God I follow. Richard correctly points out that we become like the God we worship. If our image of God is a God who separates and is prejudiced and discriminates then we become that person too.

I have for some time had a real issue with Augustine’s theology of original sin. In my reading ‘the fall’ comes a little while after God looks at the world and says ‘it is good’ before then looking at humankind and saying ‘They are VERY good’.

How can Augustine describe something created by God, in the image of God, labelled ‘very good’ by God to be embroiled in an original de facto layer of sin?!

If we view ourselves as created ‘in sin’ then our image of God is bound to be warped. It is quite difficult to believe in a God who loves us totally if we are then expected to believe that God sees us as full of crap and sin and stuff! To me … that does not hold with being created in the image of a loving and caring and fully engaged with us God.

Because God created us…. we are all loved and accepted totally by God …. just as we are with no need to change or be anything else other than the people we have been created to be.

This weeks daily readings have reminded me of this stuff which can be quite difficult to hold on to in a society that judges us according to how we look, how hard we workand how much we earn.
Every Saturday Richard Rohr gives a task to help us bed the weeks meditations …. I looked forward to Saturdays and it did not disappoint!:

Practice: Ecstatic Dance

God cannot be known by thinking but by experiencing and loving. As you read about the theological framework and practical implications of Trinity, I hope you will take many opportunities to explore this concept in your lived experience.

Here’s one way you might play—with a childlike spirit—and feel Trinity’s flow in your body. You may even lose track of where you, the dancer, end and the dance itself begins.

Choose a favorite or new piece of music—classical, world, contemporary; anything that calls you to move!—and find a place in which you can listen and move without inhibition, barefooted if possible.

Allow your body to lead, following the invitation of the music. Let your mind take a back seat and tune in to the sensations of each part of your body.

Feel your feet connect with the ground. Let limbs and joints turn and bend as they will. Swing and sway your head, shoulders, hips. Sink deep into your body, remembering what it is to be a human animal.

Dance until you are pleasantly tired and then gradually slow your movements, perhaps to another musical tempo. Continue moving in smaller, gentler ways: breathe deeply, stretch your arms and legs, roll your head.

Come to a seated position and rest in stillness.

So …. remember you are VERY good …. created in the image of a loving concerned and very involved God ….

so
go
dance
Ecstatically!

Ashing, Eating and Awesome

ashwednesdayToday has been a busy day, but one of those days where you feel good to be alive, thankful for beautiful friends and mindful of just the awesomeness of some of the things I find myself involved in.

The day started at our secondary school where I was asked to take an Ash Wednesday service. We offered ashes to the students …. and I was totally thrown to see so many, more than 100 in all, lining and waiting for me to ash their foreheads or hands while saying ‘remember you are dust and to dust you shall return …’ The atmosphere in the hall was one of great dignity, respect and reverence. It was a complete privilege to be part of such a great event.

Following this I visited another one of our schools to work with the pupil faith team. We have just finished writing the school prayer (we being the whole school community but the students in the main) and today we were planning an assembly in which we plan to introduce the prayer to the ret of the school community. Again, I was in awe of the ideas that these amazing primary school students were putting together.

I then popped to Stanmore to see one of my best friends who is currently in hospital. Her bravery and determination was just beautiful to see. She is a real inspiration to many, myself included and today reminded me that good friends are like gold dust … and we really should make more time to appreciate those special meaningful friendships.

The day ended with Agapai where we ate together, prayed together, watched this short video together and then chatted about Ash Wednesday and Lent. The evening then drew to a close as it had started …. with me ashing the people of Agapai with the same words I used in the morning … ‘remember you are dust and to dust you shall return’

Those words have hit me in many different ways today …
Saying it to over 100 energetic full or promise 11 years olds this morning was incredibly moving and quite choking ….
Saying to to the old lady on the tube who requested them after she noticed my ashed forehead and dog collar gave me an opportunity to hear her story and her desire to ‘go home’
Saying them tonight at Agapai with people I am getting to know and admire in a great ways hit me as a concrete way of serving those around me
Saying them tonight, to myself, at the end of the day as I write and reflect …. causes me to challenge myself and ask what is this Lent going to mean to me, and how am I going to use my life from now on …. because …. one day I was formed from ash …. so it follows one day I will return.
Amen.

mind-ful (l)? launch

mindful-jpegTonight we ran our first Mindfulness Meditation session on the Peninsula. It’s great to be able to do this in partnership with the people of Now Gallery.

We used the John Main school of meditation and his use of the mantra or sacred word such as maranatha or metanoia.

This was the first event HTGP has done like this …. and there was not as many there as I thought there would be based on feedback …. but also there was not as few there as my worst fear would have liked me to believe.

Tonight was a good start which I hope we will build on … not so we look good or can say how many people we are serving … but because we genuinely believe this is what the people of the area need in their lives …. time to just be and discover or rediscover ‘stuff’. In the feedback slips everyone felt their stress level had dropped which is why we are there!

So …. if you feel you missed out … same time and same place next Tuesday!

Holy Ground …

collectionToday I am pretty proud to be a resident of GMV.
The response to our collection was amazing … we have too many bags of clothes to fit in my car, which is a pretty awesome problem to have.
People responded to the social media adverts but at least 3 sets of people walked past us and returned home to get clothes to bring to us to be given to refugees. I will deliver these clothes to GRACE this week so that that can happen.

Today showed that the people who live here want to make a difference. I think it shows that people here are concerned about the plight of their fellow humans and particularly of those that have been forced to leave their homes.

A particularly touching moment was when a man walked past and wanted to make a donation because he had once been a refugee from Bosnia and remarked how welcomed he had been made to feel when he arrived. I guess I wondered if he would till receive that welcome today in what seems to be our broken in a attitude country?!

But … today was good, today inspired people and the few of us from HTGP that were ‘out there’ in the cold have been encouraged too.

Tonight I spoke on Transfiguration and took the tack of not allowing ourselves to box God in. I felt the message tonight was that we were supposed to help spread Holy Ground and get the message of love and care ‘out there’ where the people are. For a coupe of hours today I hope that we did that.

Clothes collection

refugee-collectionOn Sunday, from 4pm until 6pm we, the local church (HTGP) are hosting a pop up drop off point to collect clothes for refugees. For a while we have wanted to do something real that will make a difference and help people who have been forced to leave their home.

We are collecting with and for a local charity called  GRACE … and of you are in the area of the Greenwich Peninsula please do come and see us with your clothes gift in the Millennium Village Oval Square.

The two pictures below show what we are collecting …

grace-women

 

grace-men

 

we hope to meet you tomorrow …

community building

building-communitiesOne of the things we called to be involved in here as HTGP is that of ‘building community’.
In a listening survey I carried out in my first 9 months here I asked 3 simple questions:

What do you like about living here?
What frustrates you here?
What is lacking in this place?

To that last question the overwhelming majority answer (46% of people) said that the place lacked community feel. The next most frequent answer, at 14%, was facilities for teenagers. Nearly half of the people ho live around me feel there is no community or community spirt of feeling here. Whether that is right or not, it is a massive ‘popular’ opinion.

When I got here I quickly became part of the Residents Association and now, somehow I am secretary! This is actually  group the campaigns well and puts on good events. Tonight I hosted a planning meeting for a large summer even, loosely called ‘The Village Summer Fete’. I’m excited about this because we are responding to the 46% by trying to deliver something that will bring community together . The plan is not to just have a one off event, but to have a forum or some method on the day itself for people of common interest to connect and maybe do something that will further develop community.

How does community grow?
I’m not sure I can answer that yet.
I wonder of we need ‘nodes’ or catalysts to ‘form’ around.
I hope The Village Summer fete might be one of those nodes or catalysts that gets something going.
I’m just think aloud really … because the Peninsula is quite a unique place … we are trying to develop community on land where people have not lived previously … in other areas of new builds this is not always the case and people are displaced or there is a community around that people either link, or not, with.
On the peninsula we do not have that option … we build together from nothing
It’s another exciting thing to be involved in.

So … if you live on the Peninsula …. or even if you don’t cos we are a pretty welcoming bunch …. put the date of Saturday 15th July in your diary and watch this space.